Psychological aspects in assisted reproduction

Wishing to have children and not being able to achieve it creates some kind of discomfort in the person that wants to create a family. Through an IVF treatment pregnancy can be achieved, but sometimes it is a long and difficult way from an emotional perspective. That’s why help from psychologists specialised in fertility may be required.

For specialists there are two main factors that need to be taken into account in assisted reproduction:

  • How knowing about their reproductive problems can affect the couple .
  • Psychological support during the different phases of the treatment.

Psychological therapy in assisted reproduction

Facing infertility

There are several ways of facing an infertility diagnosis. The ideal solution is that the couple together tries to find out a way to overcome their problems, without it meaning an obstacle in their relationship. However, this situation is not the most common. When a couple turns to a fertility centre, they have already tried conceiving naturally. The fact of not being able to achieve it and the fear of not knowing why they can’t achieve it is the reason why couples turn to fertility clinics, from a psychological point of view.

The life project of the couple may shatter into pieces when they find out that they are not able to conceive naturally and they have different views about how to proceed from now on. After the visit to the doctor and the diagnosis, they may feel several strong emotions such as anger, anxiety, negation and grief. Each person is different and faces the problems in a different way, but communication in the couple is of vital importance, as well as expressing the emotions and fears freely.

Feelings assisted reproduction

Psychological support during treatment

Once the couple that needs help in order to conceive turns to an assisted reproduction treatment, they must deal with the fact that they will feel different emotions during the process, such as illusion, fear, anxiety and hope, that can put pressure and stress on the couple, which is not beneficial. The likelihood of achieving pregnancy usually decreases. If patients feel that they can no longer cope emotionally with it on their own, it’s advisable to speak to the staff of the clinic, since most of the clinics count on specialists in psychology or can get in touch with specialists in this area.

When it comes to women, the emotional ups and downs of the treatment must be added to the ones of the situation. In most of the fertility clinics, medicines that increase the hormonal levels of women are used for ovarian stimulation, which means that these drugs can have an impact on their emotional stability. The treatment has a bigger impact on women, who have to endure hormonal injections every day, deep sedation, ovarian puncture, embryo transfer, etc. Even in less aggressive treatments such as artificial insemination, the semen deposition is carried out, and even though it’s not painful, it can produce anxiety and stress for not doing anything that can affect the embryonic implantation, so that pregnancy can be achieved.

The Sociedad Española de Fertilidad (SEF, Spanish fertility society) estimates that 25% to 65% of people that turn to fertility clinics present any kind of psychological symptoms of transcendence such as anxiety, stress, anger, culpability…

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